amyscoop.com

DECEMBER 2001

Monday, December 31, 2001
On this last day of the year, a positive thought from -- guess who? -- my mom: "Each day that progresses is a day closer to spring!" (Oh gosh, she's probably so embarrassed.) Yeah...now if only this snow would melt.

Sunday, December 30, 2001
About once a year, I get suckered into the Quality Paperback Book Club. Actually, suckered is the wrong form. I should say, I'm a sucker and join it. I just renewed online, and in looking through their choices for new members (which is surprisingly limited), I'm noticing an almost disproportionate amount of gay/lesbian/queer books. I wonder if they're pandering to a specific audience, or if it's just a coincidence.

I'm making a cake for a New Year's party. I got the recipe from an issue of Bon Appetit. It's called The Chocolate Cake of Your Dreams. Hmm...we'll see.

Friday, December 28, 2001
I haven't made a New Year's resolution in a few years, but you can read other people's at the New Year's pages. (As seen in the New York Times.) For the past few years, I've done my resolutions in March -- it's my March Make-over. I got the idea from a friend of mine in grad school, and it just made more sense to me to try to change something when the weather's getting nicer as opposed to when it's dark and bleak and cold and snowy.

And speaking of dark and bleak and cold and snowy (hot damn, now there's a segue), these live webcam shots of Buffalo, NY are staggering. As much as I liked living there, I so don't miss all the snow. Sure, we have about a foot here, but not seven.

Wednesday, December 26, 2001
Note to any FBI agents, government people, or anyone else who might get the wrong idea about the paragraph following this one: I do not condone terrorism in any form. I just mean to point out the stupidity of those who attempt to carry out certain sick acts of destruction. That said...

So yeah, if you're going to blow up a plane, why would you announce your intentions to everyone on board? Doesn't it only make sense that they'll run over and try to stop you? I guess in terrorist school they don't teach you that if you're going to do something massively destructive like blow up a commercial aircraft, it won't help you any to draw attention to yourself. You'd think that'd be lesson number one.

Tuesday, December 25, 2001
If you're thinking of going to see The Majestic, here's some advice: DON'T. Holy crap, this might be about the worst movie I've ever seen. Let's see: it was way too long, it was totally formulaic, I've seen better acting on high school stages, and some of the stuff they presented as "facts" were just plain wrong. Mike's reaction: "That was worse than The Perfect Storm!" My reply: "At least at the end of The Perfect Storm, they were all dead." Stay away. Stay far far away.

Monday, December 24, 2001
Just for fun -- just because I think it'd be right hysterical -- I'm thinking of going to the 24-hour grocery/everything else super big box store to watch all the procrastinators finish off their Christmas shopping. I think I might have a good time watching the worry on their faces. (Okay, maybe I shouldn't. Maybe this is why so many people hated Jews for so long. Forget the whole Christ thing -- it's our damn smug gloating on Christmas Eve.)

I don't know what the hell took me so long to make the switch, because OS X is really really really cool. It's so...so...so...fluid. There are no pop-ups -- just slide ins and slide outs. You know, that sounds oddly sexual. Which, now that I think about it, is probably what Apple intended.

Saw Ocean's 11 the other night. It was basically like this: it starts off good, gets a little slow, the casino robbing part was very cool, and then it just kind of trails off. Worth seeing? Yeah, sure.

Thursday, December 20, 2001
Saw this Japanese movie After Life today. I watched it because my boss really likes it and wanted us all to see it, but I think most of the people I work with weren't crazy about it. It's about how death is one good memory from your own life that you get to choose, an interesting idea and done with some interesting camera work, but a little too pretentious. I kept thinking about Citizen Kane and the question of whether or not a person can be defined by his last words -- or a single memory, or a single moment, or a single anything. I can see why my boss liked the movie, but as I put it to a friend at work, I had "problems" with it.

I just realized that I think I went to college with one of the single guys on Temptation Island. Umm...not that I watch the show or anything.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001
The amyscoop.com plan for an olde thyme holly-jolly Jewish Christmas:

  1. Sleep in. Late. Very late. It's not like you have to get up early to see what Santa left for you or something.
  2. Go to movies. The movies are open on Christmas because not everyone is at grandma's house eating ham, and the movie theatre people understand this. Buy ticket for the longest movie they're showing. Buy big big tub of popcorn and vat of cola. Watch movie.
  3. If there's time after the long movie, go into another theatre in the multiplex to watch a second movie. Go ahead: it's on the house. No one's going to bust you. It's Christmas, and they're all in the Christmas spirit. Who would think of giving you a hard time on Christmas? They don't know you're Jewish.

  4. Go to Chinese restaurant for dinner. Chinese restaurants are open on Christmas because Jews like Chinese food -- really really like Chinese food -- and Chinese restaurant owners know this and probably realize that there's no better day to capitalize on the great Jewish love for Chinese food than Jesus's birthday.
  5. Go home. Watch 11 o'clock news footage of people in soup kitchens serving Christmas dinner to the less fortunate.
  6. Go to sleep. Wonder what movie you'll see next year on Christmas day. Think about how Szechuan shrimp is becoming your own little Christmas tradition, and how much better Szechuan shrimp is than ham.
Monday, December 17, 2001
For the first time in a few years, I actually have a winter break. Not just a few days off, but an honest, two-week, get-used-to-sleeping-late winter break. Woohoo!

Maybe you have a winter break too. Maybe you're planning on reading over your break. Maybe you're planning on reading James Joyce's Ulysses . If you are planning on doing that, you're probably not planning on doing much else. If you're not, maybe you'd like to check out this Ulysses for Dummies page. It's not exactly thorough, but as a brief intro, it's amusing.

Sunday, December 16, 2001
Went grocery shopping earlier and saw this awful, awful man bossing his wife around at the deli counter and yelling loudly at her when she started to order something he didn't want. I felt both awful and angry for her in that she has to put up with this asshole, but she doesn't get herself out of the relationship. The guy was such a stereotype, too: real red-neck-y looking, huge moustache, and kind of a southern accent (even though I live in Michigan). I walked away without saying anything, but I've been thinking about it ever since, and maybe I shouldn't have been so passive. Then again, the guy didn't look like he'd appreciate any kind of feminist approach, especially from a dark Yankee.

I set today aside as a "me" day. I got up late, went out for breakfast at 1:30, sat around a while, and generally relaxed. I need to do this more often.

Thursday, December 13, 2001
Sometimes the New York just flares up, and it's an effort to keep it from coming out. Like earlier at the mall, for instance. I was waiting at the Gloria Jean for one of those icy mocha drinks with the cookies crushed in it (highly highly recommended), and the couple in front of me was hemming and hawing about oh, should they buy the gift pound of coffee already ground or whole bean? Well, what's the difference? Can you tell us about the difference? Okay, so it's not so fresh if it's been ground? Oh, but it's still good, right? Right. Oh, but not as good? Oh, well, maybe we don't want that then. But what if we get it whole bean and they don't have a grinder? Then what? Oh, you sell grinders? And how much are they? Hmm...well...so is it still okay if we buy it ground? Oh, and maybe we want a latte while we're thinking about it. So can you tell me the difference between ground and whole bean again?

At this point, my interior monologue was on about 11, I really wanted my freezy mocha thing badly, and all I could think about was that if these idiots honestly needed this long to decide how they wanted their coffee, they didn't deserve anything better than Taster's Choice. Fuck's sake. Go back to the Safeway.

Wednesday, December 12, 2001
This morning I found a playing card on the floor and thought I could amuse myself all day by making a card trick out of it. I'd just ask people to pick a card, the joke being that there was only one card to pick from. I'd then tell them not to show it to me and, of course, guess correctly what card they were holding. I found this insanely hysterical. Most people didn't, but I did get two genuine laughs, so maybe it was worth it.

I watched the the iPod keynote given by Steve Jobs a month or so ago, and now all I can think about is how I need need need an iPod. We love music.

Monday, December 10, 2001
Forget stupid reindeer stamps on your Xmas cards: these carnivorous plant stamps are infinitely cooler. Nothing says "Enjoy the Season" like a Venus Flytrap sucking down a helpless moth.

Made lentil soup tonight. I cooked it for over two hours, and the lentils were still not soft! (They're supposed to be ready in about 45 minutes.) After about two and a half hours, I got impatient and ate it anyway. It wasn't bad. A little crunchy, but definitely decent.

Sunday, December 9, 2001
Poster dresses: How cool are these? They're made of a tear-proof kind of paper, so they're not nearly as disposable as the '60s trend they're emulating (especially at fifty bucks each). The World Trade Center one takes on new meaning in light of recent events, but I still think I'd like one.

Speaking of cool, Mike got me a rockin' Timbuk2 bag for my birthday, and it should be here any day now!

Saturday, December 8, 2001
Okay, so things got better yesterday. The students were all really nice to me, one even brought in Oreos, and a co-worker got me a kickasss RC car! I've already worn out the set of batteries that came with it. Another friend got me a weird assortment of little things, including a small bag of chocolate-covered insects. Note to the interested: chocolate-covered grasshoppers taste remarkably like Nestle Crunch!

Friday, December 7, 2001
Woo, did my birthday ever get off to a bad start! My band had a scheduled gig last night at a local brewery. We play there a lot and usually draw a big crowd. Last night the place was packed, as yesterday was the last day of finals at WMU and people were ready to party.

The first band played great, and everyone was feeling pretty good. We got on stage, and after a few glitches with the Rhodes amp, got through only two songs before the paranoid, coked-up, and, in all likelihood, drunk owner of the place interrupted our MCs halfway through a verse and demanded that we stop playing. His reason was that a guy from the local public access station was taping us and the opening band, and he didn't want anyone taping anything in his bar ever. Even though the guy with the camera wasn't with us, even though we had no idea anyone would be taping, and even though a lot of people were holding pints in their hands and were more than pissed off that they had just paid four bucks to see us get shut down less than three songs into our set. To make matters worse, the bar owner actually kicked out everyone in the place at around 12:20.

About ten minutes after the place cleared out, the owner admitted that maybe he didn't exactly make the best desicion for shutting down a band that consistently brings people into his business on one of the biggest party nights in town. (Duh!) He still paid us, but I don't think we'll be playing there again anytime soon.

So maybe the rest of the day will be better.

Thursday, December 6, 2001
About six weeks ago, I upgraded all the Macs in the lab I work in to Final Cut Pro 2. So what does Apple do? Release Final Cut Pro 3, those bastards! I ordered this thing two months ago -- surely they must have known that 3.0 would be out in December. But did they tell me? No! They gladly took my order for 20 upgrades and a check for around four grand, but no word that hey, if you wait a few more weeks, you can have an even better version. I love Apple, but this really pisses me off.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, tomorrow is my birthday, and I'll be 27. Unfortunately, I have to work late. Fortunately, I get to go out after work and have a few White Russians, my birthday beverage of choice ever since I saw The Big Lebowski. I might even ask people to call me "The Dude," just for a goof.

Tuesday, December 4, 2001
Lands End is selling plush toys in the shape of a Chinese panda. It's called Long Wei Down. The smaller bear is called Half Wei Down. I don't know if this is adorable or just really annoying. (Unfortunately, I can't find them on their website. Drat.)

Monday, December 3, 2001
Saw Richard Linklater's Waking Life the other night. It was a little draggy at times, probably because it was all talk. Overall, though, it was very decent and a logical step after Slacker . The animation was also amazing, and seemed to float off the screen at certain points.

Friday is my 27th birthday, and I think I'd like an IT, or a Segway, or whatever these new scooter things are called. Actually, after all the hype, I'm a little disappointed, because let's face it, when you point to something and call it more important than the internet, it had better be really frickin' cool. I guess this is cool, but I was hoping for a jetpack. Maybe I'll have to wait for the next new invention, which will probably be called THIS (as in, "What is THIS?").

Saturday, December 1, 2001
If there's one good thing about the year 2001 being over, it's that we'll no longer have to see the word Odyssey overused again. Everything was an Odyssey this year! As much as I like Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey , the metaphor just got used way too much this year. One more month and it'll all be over.

A cliche that's been running through my head today: If you sit down at a card game, and you don't know who the sucker is, it's probably you. (It got in my head after a particularly good episode of Home Movies.)


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